Ibadan is the capital and most populous city of Oyo State, Nigeria. With a population of over 3 million, it is the third most populous city in Nigeria after Lagos and Kano; it is the country’s largest city by geographical area.
At the time of Nigeria’s independence in 1960, Ibadan was the largest and most populous city in the country and the second most populous in Africa after Cairo, in Egypt.
With the motto of Oyo State as “The Pace Setter“, many begin to wonder why the state is being referred to as such.
Insideoyo.com, the No 1 online news portal in the state, brings some of the reasons why Oyo state is tagged “Pace Setter” among other states.
Below are 9 firsts in Ibadan that makes Oyo the pacesetter:
1. The first television station in Africa previously known Western Nigerian Television (WNTV) established in 1959. It’s now called Nigerian Television Authority and it’s located at Agodi G.R.A, Ibadan North Local Government, Oyo state.
2. The the first stadium in Africa is the liberty stadium which was patterned after the popular Wembley Stadium in London.
This 25,000 capacity seat football stadium and the first stadium to be built in Africa, was officially opened in 1960, and also built during Awolowo’s tenure as the Premier of the Western Region. It was officially renamed the Obafemi Awolowo stadium on the 12th November 2010 by the then President Goodluck Jonathan, during a courtesy visit to the late sage widow; Mama HID Awolowo.
3. The popular 24 storey skyscraper- the Cocoa House: The 105-meter imposing skyscraper at the centre of Ibadan city is one of the legacies left behind by the Premier of the defunct Western Region, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Cocoa House was built with proceeds from commodities like cocoa, rubber, and timber by the then Western Region of Nigeria. For this reason, they usually call the building, Ile Awon Agbe meaning (House of farmers).
One thing most elders won’t forget about Cocoa House is the fire that gutted the 24-story building on January 9, 1985, which caused a setback to its development. However, it was rehabilitated in 1992.
4. The first dualized road in Nigeria– named the Queen Elizabeth road, from Mokola to Agodi Secretariat, officially declared open, by the visiting Queen Elizabeth II in 1956.
5. The popular University College Hospital (U.C.H) is the first teaching hospital in Nigeria, patterned after the University of London Teaching Hospital (ULTH). It was also officially commissioned by the Queen, during this historic visit to Nigeria in 1956.
6. The Agodi Government Secretariat is the first in Nigeria. It also has the first Modern Parliament that housed the Regional House of Assembly now Oyo State House of Assembly and the House of Chiefs.
7. The first Housing Estate in Nigeria – the Bodija Housing Estate was also built and developed in 1958.
8. Ibadan became the home of the first set of Research and Training Institutes in Nigeria; The Forestry Research Institute (1930), the Idi-Ayunre Cocoa Research Institute (CRIN), The Nigerian Cereal Research Institute Moor Plantation (NCRI), the NIHORT (Nigerian Institute of Horticultural Research), the NISER (Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research), IAR&T (Institute of Agriculture, Research and Training), amongst several others.
9. The University of Ibadan which was established in 1948, UI as it is fondly referred to, is the first University in Nigeria. Until 1962 when it became a full-fledged independent University, it was a College of the University of London in a special relationship scheme.